Information recently released by Diabetes UK based on NHS data, shows that annually 2.6 per thousand people with diabetes have a lower limb amputation. Overall, people with diabetes are over 20 times more likely to have a lower limb amputation, than those without the condition. These amputations have a devastating impact and alarmingly statistics show that half of patients die within two years of the amputation
Alarmingly, the evidence shows that up to 80 per cent of these diabetes-related amputations could be prevented. Despite improvements by some hospitals and clinical commissioning groups, there are still too many preventable amputations being performed.
The reasons are identified as
- Poor annual or in-patient foot checks and follow-up advice
- Those with active foot disease are not referred to a team of specialists quickly enough, despite the fact that diabetes-related foot problems can deteriorate in a matter of hours.
- Too many hospitals still do not having specialist foot care teams or, if these teams are in place, patients are not referred quickly enough.
Diabetes UK is calling for a focus on improving foot care nationwide and for those areas with above average amputation rates, to urgently implement plans to reduce their rate. It is also urging the Government to set out its plans for reducing the national diabetes-related amputation rate. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, has stated his personal commitment to halving the amputation rate by 2017 but he has yet to make clear how this will happen.
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, was quoted as saying “Given the appallingly high levels of preventable diabetes-related amputations, it is hugely disappointing that these latest figures have not shown a reduction in the rate. It means we are continuing to see thousands of people losing their feet when better healthcare could have prevented this from happening”
The management of diabetic foot problems and their complications, present both a medical and economic challenge to our healthcare system but healthcare providers must adopt an aggressive multidisciplinary approach to preserve sufferers limbs